If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I keep talking about working on the weekends because we have official visits in town for LSU. Since I have worked in football for so long, I sometimes forget that this term and other recruiting lingo are not common to everyone. It is easy to get stuck in a football bubble! So, I thought I would write a quick post explaining how I work in recruiting and how football season really never ends for a football staff.
First, let’s start with the official definition of an official visit from the NCAA, which is the governing body of college athletics.
Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay all or some of the following expenses:
- Your transportation to and from the college.
- Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and
- Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.
You must have a Certification Account with the NCAA Eligibility Center before you can go on an official visit.
In basic terms, this means that our staff has 48 hours to showoff everything that LSU has to offer a potential student-athlete (PSA) and their family. This includes touring our campus, meeting with the academic staff and professors, conversations with the coaches, as well as spending time at our Football Operations building and eating meals together. We work Fridays thru Sundays on official visit weekends.
There are only certain parts of the year that colleges are allowed to host official visits for PSA’s depending on each sport. In football, we are allowed to have official visits during the football season, part of the month of December and for three weekends (and during certain weeks) in January. In football, PSA’s are allowed only five official visits during their senior year of high school.
We will have our last group of official visits this weekend, before the ‘Dead Period’ starts, meaning PSA’s cannot make anymore visits to college campuses and coaches cannot make any visits to see PSA’s. Wednesday, February 1st is National Signing Day, which is the official close of the 2017 recruiting cycle. This is when recruits will sign their National Letters of Intent for the school they choose to attend, and most will enroll in June. This day is like the Christmas of college football recruiting. Recruiting is such an interesting process, and it is fun each year to see the culmination of a staff’s hard work throughout many years to sign their recruiting class.
A lot of college football fans think that our work is done once we play our bowl game and then we chill out until spring ball starts in March. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Sometimes I think that official visit season is almost busier than football season. Recruiting season is ALL YEAR long. It does not stop. There are rules when a university can have PSA’s on its campus, when coaches can visit recruits at their schools or in their homes, what can be sent in the mail and electronically and rules on when and how much PSA’s can be contacted. There is pretty much a rule for everything!
This is one of the ways that working for a college team differs drastically from working in the NFL. It is also another example of the time commitment that is required to work in college athletics, especially for a top-tier football program. It includes long days, but it doesn’t feel too much like a job when I have the opportunity to share why I love LSU, work with an amazing staff and meet people from all over the country.
Even when a recruit doesn’t choose LSU, we still find ourselves following all of these guys throughout their college and professional careers. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, who is projected as a first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, didn’t attend LSU, but I remember him on his unofficial visit to LSU and getting to know him throughout his recruiting process.
One of the things I wanted to focus on when I started this blog was to give a glimpse into what it’s like working in sports and being a woman in this field. I work in LSU media, LSU football operations and with LSU football recruiting, so it’s neat to always be getting a different viewpoint of what is going on within our program. There are very rarely any boring days, and this next week until Signing Day is always full of twists and turns.
If you have any questions about any of this or working in sports or media in general, leave them in the comments and I would love to answer! It is a unique world for sure.
ONE. MORE. WEEK. TO. GEAUX.
Then, it’s National Signing Day! Geaux Tigers!